Thursday, January 27, 2011

Challenging the Champions

In his 1987 novel Bluebeard (a "hoax autobiography" of "the erstwhile American painter Rabo Karabekian"), Kurt Vonnegut wrote:
...simply moderate giftedness has been made worthless by the printing press and radio and television and satellites and all that. A moderately gifted person who would have been a community treasure a thousand years ago has to give up, has to go into some other line of work, since modern communications put him or her into daily competition with nothing but world champions.
Perhaps that was true in 1987, but in 2011 the "world champions"—those who actually get paid for their creations—must be straining to be heard over the noise of the rabble. That'd be those of us who are only moderately (or less) gifted, and who still have to "go into some other line of work" to pay the rent, but can at least share what gifts we (think we) have via the Internet by blogging or tweeting or posting our photographs or artwork or homemade videos or whatever. I suppose we're still in "daily competition" for the attention of others,† but what we lack in quality, we more than make up for in quantity.

† I don't know whether I count myself as a "competitor" or not. I blog mainly as a way of expressing myself to myself, in much the same way that I used to keep a journal. So far as I know, nobody reads this blog except me!

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